Tag Archives: Healthy Living

Miso Mushroom Butternut Soup

Sometimes I eat things that are not butternut soup. Most times, actually. I guess it’s just butternut madness time and I’m always sick so I always want soup. Also, it’s still 85 degrees here in October! So who doesn’t want a bowl of hot liquid for dinner?
This soup is so umami. I love it’s earthy hearty flavors that are paired so nicely with the sweetness of the squash. It is missing a little something, though.  I wish that I had onions and garlic to add to the mix to just kick up the flavor a bit.  Still, it’s a filling, healthy and quick dinner that will make you smile! It probably tastes better when it’s cold outside, but I wouldn’t know.

Like most things I make, especially soups, I didn’t actually measure anything I put in.  I just dumped it in a pot and let it boil.  I put in approximate measurements to the recipe so you have a clue where to begin, but keep in mind I made a GIANT batch!



Miso Mushroom Butternut Soup


  • 1 box low sodium broth (I used trader joe’s vegetable but I think chicken might be better in the future)
  • 5 cups water
  • 10 large baby bella mushrooms, sliced into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 cup frozen kale
  • 1 small butternut squash, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • Garlic Powder and Old Bay seasoning to taste (or fresh garlic if you have it!)
  • 1/4 cup miso paste (I used low sodium red miso)
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped

Mix ingredients except for green onions in a large stock pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil for 30 minutes, until mushrooms and squash are tender.  Put green onions into the mix at the end and continue to cook for another few minutes.  Serve piping hot as an appetizer or meatless main course!




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Filed under Healthy Living, Main Courses, Recipes, Vegetables

Run #2…keep it going.


So, went for run (jog) # 2 today!  Wanted to go to Huntington, but on the way decided to stop by seal beach to see if it was a good spot to run, a little closer to home.  Well, as you can tell by my route I had a little trouble finding a good place to go.  I like HB because it’s a straight, paved path right next to the beach that goes on for a while.  Seal beach doesn’t really have that, so I ended up walking a bit and then just running on the sidewalks in the neighborhood right next to the beach!  Which was actually just fine.  It was pretty, and flat, and fairly empty which I liked.  The houses were amazing! I want to move there! haha yeah right.

It was really hard at first but got easier at the end.  I ran four 5 minute intervals, walking 2 minutes (more in the first one because I was kind of lost in a parking lot) between. The last interval I did 6 minutes just to make myself.  Then I did a 1 minute sprint!  I wanted to do one more, but then I was over it.  Walked back to my car and stopped to do some stretching on some grass in a mini park.  Overall, it was a good run.  Unfortunately, now I am starting to feel the familiar ache of the runner’s nemesis, SHIN SPLINTS!  GRRRRR I HATE SHIN SPLINTS!  So I am icing, stretching, and relaxing.

I really need to find somewhere to run closer to home.  I live in a pretty sketchy neighborhood and don’t feel comfortable running around here by myself really.  I know myself and when it’s crunch time (aka I’m working 40 + hours and doing school full time! Soon! I don’t want it to come back!) I won’t have the time/energy/motivation to drive 20 minutes each way for a run.  I guess I do need to get out of my comfort zone, but also I don’t want to run in the hood.  There I said it.  So til next time, I’ll be icing my shins and drinking lots of water! It’s freaking hot!

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Filed under Healthy Living, running, work outs

why you should lead your own yoga practice

ImageWell, it’s awesome!

I’ve been doing yoga for about 6 years, I think.  Sometimes I like classes, sometimes they are way too distracting!  Like that guy that grunts in every pose, or that lady that rolls around on the floor and doesn’t really follow along at all.  I guess these people are just added bonus for your practice: you have to train your mind to let them go.  You have to find your flow no matter what is happening around you.

Since I moved, I haven’t been attending any classes.  In Santa Cruz I was lucky to have a friend that taught the most amazing Warrior Yoga classes and really couldn’t get behind any other class.  Now that I’m in school full time and working full time, and pretty broke (loans!), I don’t have the 100$ + it costs to join a studio.  I’ve mostly been doing podcasts at home (did you know you can download free yoga classes on iTunes? because you should).  I especially like “All the way live” by faith hunter.  The perfect mix of power/stretching for me!  If you aren’t familiar with the poses, going to a class is always better.  But if you know your way around the mat, you can just listen to a class for free! With no weird guy grunting to distract you!

Tonight I decided to lead my own practice.  This is difficult at first but becomes more and more joyful as you go.  I did 40 minutes today, no problem!  Here are some benefits of being your own yoga teacher.

  • You can focus on the muscles you want to stretch/strengthen
  • You can hold a pose (or not) for as long as you want
  • You can explore different transitions and learn how to “go with the flow”
  • You can improve your practice by testing your memory of vinyasas (flows)
  • You can make up new ones! Today I went from a wide legged forward bend and hopped back to chataranga!  Crazy!

Overall, if you want to expand your practice, I highly recommend it.  The hardest part for me is thinking of how to transition to my next pose.

Today I started with some breathing, then stretched my neck and hips.  I went into some cat/cow, then right into a few sun salutations!  I moved through those a few times, then went on to a “B” series of warrior 1, 2, peaceful warrior, side angle, triangle, twists, and dancer pose!  Then I stretched on the floor and really worked on opening my hips.  I tried to work on my splits but they still hurt so bad!

Oh yeah, since originally I started this blog to help me with my weight loss, I guess I’ll talk about my eating too.  Today I stayed (mostly) within my calories, and feel more in control.  My clients gave me some pasta and garlic bread for lunch (whoops), and then they brought delicious Porto’s to clinic!  I slipped and had 1 dulce de leche kiss cookie.  Dinner was light and I didn’t eat carbs (skinny rules coming soon).  I think today was pretty good!

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Filed under Healthy Living, yoga

Kettlebell cardio shred!

Work out today: Bob Harper Kettlebell cardio shred video.

Usually I do workout videos because I don’t have a gym membership and when left to my own devices, I wouldn’t work out very hard at all!  I invested in a kettle bell and a few workout videos.  I try to mix it up and sometimes swap moves just to keep it new and fresh.  Honestly, I usually do workouts while watching tv because it keeps my mind off of the time and watching the clock.  I totally miss having a gym membership and the options that come with it (classes, pool, machines, HOT TUB!).  Right now I don’t have one because I haven’t found a gym I like that’s close enough to my house that I would actually go.  It’s a luxury some people take for granted!  We checked out LA fitness that is maybe 10 minutes away, but it was kind of nasty.  Old machines, dirty locker room etc.  Plus I don’t really like the set up of everybody watching every body.  And the hot tub was co-ed! no thanks!  Anyways, for now I am working out at home which is more convenient for me.  Less response effort means I will be more likely to engage in the response! Hurray!


The Bob Harper DVD is pretty intense.  Tons of kettlebell swings, cleans, presses etc.  Cardio intervals of high knees, burpees, and yes, even more swings.  Lots of lunges with the kettle bell and even more! The video finishes with a pretty standard set of ab exercises: Crunches, twists and bicycles.   

I’m working on my form.  Kettlebells can really hurt you if you don’t use them correctly.  I learned this the hard way when I first tried them and immediately pulled my back!  I suggest taking it slow, and watching lots of tutorials on youtube and any other videos you can find before starting.  Even so, all the swings usually hurt my lower back.  Today, I concentrated on keeping my back straight and tightening my abs when I came back up. I also tried to completely ignore my arms and only focus on my lower half.  Seems like it worked because my back’s not sore!
After, bonus yoga stretches! 2 sun salutations, plus a couple minutes of pigeon pose on each side.  Then I tried to work on my splits but it hurt real bad!  Think I need to warm up my hips more before going into the splits.

Overall, a good workout! Hard at first and I was really tired.  I probably should have eaten some protein first!  Tomorrow: I think I’ll try to go for a run and swim at huntington beach!

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Filed under Healthy Living, video reviews, weight loss, work outs

What’s up with the tag line?

“tragic attempts at healthy living in a toxic world”

Let me explain.

I have become increasingly health-conscious in the last few years or so.  As a youngster, I was self destructive to the max.  Smoked a pack a day, drank, drugged, the usual teenage rebellion stuff.  Maybe because I was depressed, or maybe I was depressed because I was treating my body like crap.  Needless to say this worried my parents quite a bit and I ended up in the shrinks office, being prescribed antidepressants and the like.  Fast forward to college, where I’m on my own for the first time.  I decided to get off my meds (still self medicating with other substances of course!) and went to see a college counselor.  He gave me the best advice any health/mental health professional has ever given me : exercise 3 times a week.  That’s it!

Lucky for me, all the girls in my dorm had eating/over exercising disorders so it was easy to find a work out buddy (or 3).  Plus, the gym at my school had a beautiful ocean view and I discovered the joys of working out.  I’m not being an asshole, I really do like to work out.  The high it gives me is better than any other.  A few years later I discovered yoga, and started to appreciate my body for what it could do and how it could make me feel.

Needless to say, none of this really matched with my pack-a-day smoking habit.  They had to go.  It took a million tries and few years, but I know I’m done smoking for good.  I’ve had pneumonia a few too many times to ever go back.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cigarettes more than anything in this world.  I cried the day I woke up and knew I had to quit.  But I am glad they are gone from my life. I feel so much younger, stronger, and happier without them.  Turns out life’s not so bad if you’re not in withdrawal all the time!!

College and the few years after were spent in the most beautiful, idyllic, dreamy beach town.  Everyone does yoga, everyone smokes pot, everyone shops local and organic and the coolest place to be is the farmers market.  I used to hate the hippies and bag on their smug sense of self entitlement.  I still kind of do.

Then I found a job I loved, working with kids with special needs.  Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an amazing tool that can truly transform lives.  I wanted to go to school to learn more, and mostly make more money (hey, just being honest–getting punched puked and spit on should get paid a lot more than it does).  So, I ended up in L.A., pretty much the opposite of beautiful Santa Cruz.  Traffic, Smog, Water pollution, Boats, trains, acid rain!  How anyone can live here and not have mutant babies is a miracle in itself.  Specifically I moved to Long Beach, with its own special toxic mix of poverty and industrialism.  Did I mention there’s oil drills in the Target Parking lot? And did I mention I live down the street from what we call “fast food nation”–an intersection with literally 9 (9!) fast food restaurants on the corners.

Which brings me to this blog.  How can I live a healthy lifestyle, love and nourish my body, in the toxic wasteland that is L.A.?  In some ways, its easier here.  There’s more foods available and I found a CSA close to my house.  We have a garden (never could in SC because its too damn foggy) and are pretty much only eating (extremely) local produce!

On the other hand, I drive a ton for work (1-3 hrs a day depending), I work full time and go to school full time and just don’t feel like I have the time to spend on my health, well being and nutrition.  These could and often do become excuses, but I’m really on a journey learning how to overcome these barriers.  I think many people in our modern world face these problems (first world problems for sure), and I want to share, learn, grow and inspire.  So that’s why I say, “tragic attempts at healthy living in a toxic wasteland”.  I won’t always succeed, I may fall on my ass, but it will be worth it.  Join me!

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Filed under behavior, Healthy Living